Look at all the covers in less than 8 minutes -
To watch the same video in High Resolution, click the link - TOP 100 COVERS
Views and Observations on Print Media in India (Powered by MAGworld)
’Franchise India Publication’, the publisher of various other publications like Estate World, The Franchising World, Retailer and many web portals has recently launched a new magazine- Small Medium Entrepreneur. As name suggests itself that it is to target the small & medium sized businesses & entrepreneurs in the country where couple of other magazines already are there to target the same genre. It is quite common of having many magazines from same genre with very similar or resembling titles but at least their treatment should be different if you want to create your own identity. Here, ‘Small Medium Entrepreneur’ is carrying the words ‘Small Medium’ in very small size but the word ‘Entrepreneur’ is kept very large on the cover that resembles very closely to another magazine from same genre. It seems that it is done deliberately to ride upon other established magazine’s credibility.
It would have been better if this magazine was launched in Hindi language, at least in that way it could have its own unique proposition and untapped audience too.
The magazine is badly structured editorially and content viz it is very shallow as a monthly periodical. Launch issue is conceptualized without any vision. Biggest mistake is putting such a big story (60 pgs precisely) in the launch issue that occupied more than half portion of the magazine. The story idea itself is good but the issue chosen to carry this story is not right. Launch issue generally works as a sample of a publication which gives a taste to the reader to hook the reader into it. In the launch issue, stories need to be planned to convey the editorial structure to the reader… the structure of this issue should reflect the entire content blue-print of the magazine to the reader so that reader should come back to the newsstand to pick up the next issue.
Launch issue of SME consists of one feature, one profile, one start up story, three guest columns and two-three very generic kind of articles only. Sub-editing & copy desk job is mediocre and there are proofing errors which spoil the mood of reading.
100 Best Small Businesses & Entrepreneurs of the year 2011- cover story of the launch issue is structured badly & presented also very unprofessionally. It’s nothing but a compilation of testimonials taken from various entrepreneurs. ‘Junoon, Jugaad and Luck’ is the centre of the testimonials which I think is a brain child of editor and is enforced upon entrepreneurs to say anything or something on that! And poor entrepreneurs in many cases have replied ridiculous.
The way its editorial structure is not robust, design is also vague. Designer has done blunders at fundamental level of designing a magazine. Body copy typefaces are changing randomly, text is overflowing in the folio area of pages, alignment of body text is changing abruptly, columns widths are floating on almost on every other page, typefaces used in entire magazine are immature.
Looking at the issue, it seems that designer got stuck with one ‘idea’ and applied it at anywhere and everywhere in the magazine. For example, if painting effect was the idea for the cover story, it is unnecessarily applied on group president’s picture also. You cannot find any thought behind any design or layout in entire magazine. Not a single photograph of any of ‘top 100 entrepreneurs’ is put the way it is put full length photograph of group president on his page!
Rest of magazine is designed so badly that you actually don’t need any publishing software to do layout for such pages, same could have done using any word processing software also. Lots of inconsistencies in design, elements, colors and the way things are put or text wrapped around the images across the magazine. Photography is hardly used in the magazine. The images or illustration are taken from web or stocks and those are used here very carelessly. Content lacks info graphics as support.
Logo for the biggest story ‘Top 100…’ is created carelessly. At some places it has background at some places it is used without solid background... at some places it is in different color... at some places it has different size, leading, kerning, treatment...! Copy desk has messed up even with the text used in such a small logo.
Let’s talk about the cover of the inaugural issue. There are many points where I disagree and dislike the cover- editorially as well as design viz.
- profile on Metro shoes is one of many entrepreneurial stories of 4pgs only but it is put as main cover story while there is BIG generic story which is around 60 pgs long but kept it at bottom as if it is just like another story in this issue. It can be annual editorial property of this magazine and it should be treated in that way only.
- Poor visual for the main story as the prop gets camouflaged in the background.
- It seems that editorial team got obsessed with the phrase coined by them- Junoon, Jugaad & Luck… that is why it is unnecessarily attached with main cover story though it has got nothing to do with this particular story.
- Unnecessary usage of free hand writing font, or probably they have thought that these are Hindi words so… ;)
- Unnecessary usage of various colors.
- Photo caption on the cover? Anyway, it is hanging in the air and that too right aligned!
- Badly designed logo for the biggest story of the inaugural issue… unnecessary cluttering in the text- outlines, multiple colors… poor and useless tag line of the logo… poor sub-editing.
- Gradient black behind the Masthead? It could have some other contrast color… as it is cover is having too many colors where they actually are not required.
- Unnecessarily used black strip at the bottom to put the text over it.
Hardly any prepress work was required in this magazine so that part is OK. Whatever photographs are there, are fine and they printed in natural colors. But some product shots have lost details because they are too dark. Printing itself is good and has come up with perfect registration.
Printing could have come up better if it was printed on better quality paper. Inaugural issue of SME consists of 114 pages. Paper quality of inside pages is average but the cover is fine as it should be. It has a perfect bound spine but not utilized sensibly. Cover price of the magazine is Rs.75 at news stand.
The domain, small business and entrepreneurs, has lots of scope for relevant information and exchange through various mediums including printed magazine. That is why couple of magazines are already there in the market and doing good. But, it needs serious and insightful content and requires a professional level presentation to create its own mindshare for a new magazine. Small Medium Entrepreneur, the way it is currently, does not impress as a serious business magazine.
For more Indian magazines reviews:
I always see ‘Popular Science’ magazine as a periodical that explains the reality of this scientific universe in simple language to a common and a layman where he lives. It covers every aspect science and technology that touches our day-to-day life and may affect our future. It brings science from scientists’ laboratories to the layman’s level understanding of complicated facts & principles and that is why I prefer to call it ‘People Science’ magazine.
The most authoritative & leading source of latest science & technology world – ‘Popular Science’ was launched in 1872 in America as a monthly magazine. Since then, after the launches of around in 30 languages in more than 45 countries, it is now launched in India by Next Gen Publishing (also the publishers of Smart Photography, Car, Bike, The Ideal Home & Garden, Mother & Baby, Computer Active, Commercial Vehicle etc).
Its topic is such that it really does not require be localized and that is why Indian edition has almost entire content from its parental publication only. Hence, no complaints till the time it is relevant for its targeted readers. Structure of magazine does not come across the magazine as clear as it appears on contents pages. The section – What’ s New, looks little weird here in this magazine as the entire magazine is already positioned as latest & updated resource of innovations in the scientific world. Features are very informative and supported with facts & figures that makes an article very interesting to read.
Since it is targeting a common man who wants to know about the world, the language of articles is kept simple & jargon free to make the subject easily understandable. Though, I find inconsistencies in structure of articles the way they are written and that makes some articles disinteresting. Overall, the entire magazine is very informative and anyone can enjoy reading it. Yes, I feel that the content falls short looking at its monthly periodicity.
Since whole content published here in Indian edition is from its US edition, the only part is left to do here is design & layout the pages… and in many cases even that is kept same. Still, there are many inconsistencies and loop holes left in design. Considering it a general interest magazine and keeping the subject in mind it really needed to be a lively and vibrant in appeal. This is what the designers have tried to make it but when there are so many things or so many design elements are introduced in one magazine, it becomes big challenge to handle them and it should be handled extremely carefully and consistently.
Cover of the launch issue itself looks little imbalance and has lacking in proof reading. The cover of Indian edition does not match with the grid of its parental edition. Without enough numbers of cover stories, the issue looks very shallow in terms of content. Subject of this magazine is such that it requires lots of stories in every issue to justify its worth. Yes, its masthead in fluorescent color is coming out very well and pops up in the magazines’ crowd at newsstand.
Layout of ‘Contents pages’ looks as if randomly done and has no consistency. Same sort of inconsistency is there in the presentation of section openers. Image boxes, those are used in the top band, are absolutely useless and could be used in better way. As I have mentioned that too many elements means, too much care and too much precision is required… and this is the area where this magazine has problems and needs to have check points.
Info graphs & illustrations are very impressive and informative except one or two places which look out of place here in this magazine. Photographs are also excellent and handled very well in layout the pages. Again at some pages some goofs occurred which I am sure, will not happen in other issues.
Prepress work is fine as images are looking great. Photographs are appeared in almost natural colors and are looking good. The only problem is that it is printed at low density and that’s why pictures are not smooth but showing pixels. Otherwise, issue is printed well with perfect registration. Colors are also come out appropriate except a few pages where some particular ink is appearing heavy. Again, I hope that will be taken care in next issues.
Inaugural issue of Popular Science consists of 100 pages. Paper quality of inside pages and the cover is just perfect as it should be. Though it has a perfect bound spine still it looks very thin and gives a feel that it has very less to read. I think that it should have two more forms to justify its newsstand cover price of Rs.100.
Since it is not a hardcore science journal but is an interesting source for the mass – a common educated man, it carries lots of features, facts, insightful articles in a descent manner and at an affordable price. This is the magazine which you can read and enjoy when you are travelling or you are sipping your evening tea.
For more Indian magazine reviews:
In the launch issue of Hindi edition of Filmfare, Editor Jitesh Pillai has signed off his edit note with- ‘I hope that the same affection & bonding you would share with Hindi edition of Filmfare the way you have been doing for the last sixty years with English edition’. After going through the issue I was surprised if two products are not at same level in terms of editorial quality & seriousness, how can you expect the same kind of treatment & bonding from the consumer for them?
In fact, for that matter, any magazine which has no editorial vision or has not done complete editorial ground work or is not serious about its standards or does not understand the content needs of its audience that magazine cannot become a great magazine. Perhaps, that might have profitable business preposition and might be treated as a successful magazine but it cannot earn any association and the bonding from the readers. Publishers generally are very serious in terms of following the ‘best’ practices those are necessary when they launch any new magazine or they launch any foreign title in India. Then, why they seem so careless when it comes to launch of a Hindi or any regional language edition of their existing brand? Why do they not care seriously what content is going inside, how that content is presented, what quality & standards are followed when putting an issue together?
By the way, here is another magazine in Hindi… another senseless byproduct as an independent magazine! WWM pvt ltd has launched their flagship brand & almost sixty years old magazine FILMFARE in Hindi. Hindi edition is launched as a monthly magazine while Filmfare English comes twice every month. In the genre of Hindi Films, as it is there are not too many magazines available and whichever is available is also has the same problems- same editorial negligence… step-motherly treated poor Hindi versions of existing established English brands.
Looking at its editorial structure, it looks that either this magazine is put together without any understanding of content needs of its audience OR it is conceptualized very carelessly. If at all, an editorial structure is very critical aspect of any magazine and when any magazine doesn’t have same editorial structure to another magazine (even in the same genre, in the same market), then why it is assumed that the same editorial structure can work for both the versions of Filmfare? It seems as if it is made with just convenience, nothing else. And top of that, section and column names are kept so thoughtless that few of those cannot be understood by its audience.
It is so irritating when you read typical media terms or slangs in Hindi like Paparazzi, Glamfare, Style Check, Hottie, Director’s Cut, Some Like it hot, Summer Blaze, Style Sizzle, Summer Wardrobe, Star Light Express, Photo Play (they forgot conveniently that it is mentioned as ‘Vishisht Photoshoots’ in content pages), Action Replay, Snap Shots, Perfect Man, Bad Boy, Bebolicious, Temptress, Fashion Play (they forgot again that it is mentioned as ‘Fashion Station’ in content pages)…many more! It is an easy excuse if it is said that they never wanted to use hardcore Hindi words so they decided to make it ‘Hinglish’ and that is where problem starts. Because then you need to define very clear and strict guidelines to the desk for ‘what should be written in English and what should be written in Hindi’.
There is no issue in using one content bank for multiple magazines but it should be done smartly and it should have some connect & context also. Here in the Hindi edition of Filmfare, that is fine if content is taken from its English editions, but it is translated so badly that it leaves a bad taste after reading. There is certainly no copy desk guide which could tell translators/desk team that what degree of slang is allowed, how much usage of Urdu and even ‘phaarsee’ words is acceptable or what kind of words are to be left in English (and even in English script) only etc. Entire magazine has very badly structured sentences & phrases and that clearly shows negligence on subediting part. There are no guidelines followed for the usage of numerals in the magazine. There is no consistency in usage and spellings of words in entire magazine.
I cannot understand if in any English language magazine cannot afford any spelling and proofing errors (though we have software & spellcheckers to help) to have, then why the same seriousness & concern is not applicable on Hindi language magazines? Why it is assumed that readers won’t mind if they find lots of spelling errors in body text, in captions, in headlines or even on the main cover? There are lots of words used throughout the magazine which are carrying wrong vowels and few vowels are absolutely (conveniently) ignored in the Hindi edition of Filmfare.
Because of substandard quality of translation, entire magazine is full of badly structured sentences which you will never find in any other (original) Hindi publication. Many words are kept in as they used in English without even thinking that they are meaningless here in this magazine. What worst could have done than that main copy in subscription advertisement of its own, has a wrong usage of language! Apart from that, in entire magazine you can see lots unnecessary and wrong usage of punctuations.
Sourcing of articles/stories is understood that Filmfare English has huge bank and that can support its Hindi version as well, still selection of stories could have done better and serious manner. Launch issue is put together so carelessly that one of the cover stories, that is mentioned there on the main cover, is not carried at all inside the issue…!
Same problem! When two magazines have different positioning, different TG, different socio-psycho levels… then how come they can have same design style sheet! Using same photographs is just fine, but other design elements??? Why they cannot be customized or redesigned accordingly, why color scheme is kept same…just because of negligence.
I understand the maintaining the brand personality but Designers have just finished their job through easy escape route that they simply copied style from English edition and have implemented here in the Hindi edition. They didn’t even think what works-what does not work or what looks good-what does not look good in Hindi magazines. If one line is center aligned in English edition, it is kept center aligned only in Hindi also even though it is looking ugly and unbalanced on the page. If one word is kept large or bold in English, without putting any brain, same treatment is given here in Hindi also, who cares if it is looking bad when it is printed. Designers need to understand that using these kinds of special effects if you can add some impact or pun in the simple text in English, here in Hindi same treatment can spoil the taste of it or some time even the meaning. They need to understand that dealing with English typefaces and Hindi typefaces are absolutely two different challenges. Same typography which you are doing with English text, you just cannot do with the Hindi text. You need to handle blank area very smartly which comes above & below every word written in Hindi.
Few of design elements could be tweaked accordingly as they look good if they used along with the English text, but they are not looking great with Hindi text.
Quality of photographs used in the magazine is good. Cutouts are fine, only a few places it looks that job is just finished otherwise it is ok. Layouts are also good. At least design has some consistency which, on the content part is missing.
Prepress work is good so is the final product. Only a few pages are not printed in natural colors and not showing real skin colors otherwise colors are printed well. Main cover of Launch issue is looking good though I don’t understand what are the lens flare like bubbles there on Sonakhi’s photograph. If it is not a mistake, it is not adding any value to the picture.
Hindi edition of Filmfare is launched as a monthly magazine as it is shown on its date line where month & year is mentioned though page numbers are kept around 150 that is almost same as one English edition carries every fortnight. This perfect bound Hindi edition is priced at Rs.40. This genre has lots of stuff to put in one issue, and I think the quantity of content carrying this Hindi issue is good enough for a monthly periodical.
It was really a good news that Filmfare is now available in Hindi, but the quality of product has disappointed badly. As a reader I expect the same degree of professional seriousness that its English edition possesses. If I take this magazine as a separate – stand alone magazine, I don’t think that it can get the same respect & association with its readers which Filmfare otherwise has been enjoying for around 60 years. Right now this magazine is good if you want to see lots of good photographs of your favorite stars, because the moment you start reading text part, it spoils your taste. Content sharing between language versions is fine, but editing, subbing, proofing are the critical areas where they need to work seriously if Mr. Pillai wants the same treatment from its readers for this version as well.
For more Indian magazine reviews: